NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia — It’s been just a few months since the Australia B.A.S.S. Nation became an official chapter under the B.A.S.S. Nation umbrella. But the new international chapter held its inaugural B.A.S.S. Nation-sanctioned tournament, the Inaugural Damiki Classic of the Atomic B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Series, on Lake St. Clair in New South Wales.
“We received 58 entrants for the inaugural round,” said Drew McGrath, Australia B.A.S.S. Nation president, “and up until a week and half before the event, the fishing by all reports had been off the charts. Some anglers had informed us that 60 fish sessions had been on the cards so everything was looking fantastic. Then, some solid rain and unstable weather set in, which slowed the fishing and changed the pattern, so the tournament was open for anyone to win.”
Tom Slater of Queensland won the two-day event.
“Slater was the only angler to weigh in more than 2 kilograms each day to claim his maiden pro bass victory,” said McGrath. “Slater worked out a solid pattern where he caught his limit very early, and then searched for the rest of the day to find similar locations.”
Australia doesn’t have largemouth bass; it has Australian bass. But the tackle used to catch them is very similar. Slater used 13 Fishing rods and reels, a Daiwa reel and Amigo Plus braid with Toray leaders. He fished an Imakatsu Riprizer 60 jerkbait and Keitech Mini Spin and OSP High Pitcher spinnerbaits.
Leaders qualified to compete in the Megabass B.A.S.S. Australia Championship, Sept. 6-7.
“Undoubtedly, the two most critical roles in making these events so successful are the sponsors and the anglers,” said McGrath. “Atomic has played a major part in helping getting these tournaments up and running in Australia, so we are extremely thankful to the guys from Frogley’s Offshore. The round sponsor, Damiki, got on board and supported us more than we ever expected, and they have the same vision as we do, which is to increase the level of competition to a place where we can send successful anglers on to the international stage with pride.
“The professionalism of the anglers has shown through, and the future of the sport looks brighter because of their constant hard work and eagerness for improvement."
Follow the Australia B.A.S.S. Nation on Facebook to keep up with the trail’s events, and look for our first Australian contender at the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, Nov. 6-8, on Louisiana’s Ouachita River.